If you’re like most executives or hiring managers we talk to, a critical component of your success is securing talented employees. Hiring is not easy – it requires a significant investment of time, resources, and often, a bit of a leap of faith when you ultimately select the individual to hire. Evaluating a candidate’s true motivations for considering a new opportunity and understanding his or her primary interests in the your company and role are crucial parts of a successful hire. We find that most individuals involved in interviewing and making hiring selections are comfortable asking questions to learn about a candidate’s skills, capabilities, and experience, but they are less certain of how to determine the intangibles that also factor into a successful hire, such as cultural fit, motivations, ambitions and career goals.
In this 3-part series, we provide suggestions on:
Interviewing to assess a candidate’s true motivations
Determining a candidate’s fit within your company’s culture and role
Leveraging references to further evaluate a candidate
One of the first things to consider is why the individual has decided to pursue a new opportunity. Taking the direct approach – simply asking “What has prompted you to look for another opportunity?" – can sometimes uncover a candidate’s motivations. But that question is often expected and will most likely invoke a rehearsed response. Jim Lord, one of Helbling’s Managing Directors and search consultants, suggests asking other questions to reveal the primary reasons the individual may be considering a change:
What are the responsibilities and / or challenges of your current position that you do not enjoy or that make you dissatisfied?
What aspects of your role do you not like?
What are the characteristics of your current company that make you feel like you do not belong there?
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Describe the opportunity for career progression with your current company.
How would you describe your current supervisor’s management style? What do you like and not like about that style?
If you could change one thing about your current position / situation, what would it be?
What is your current compensation? What types of increases do you typically see?
Why did you leave your prior job? Work back through an individual’s resume to discover why he or she has made each change. This may reveal a pattern of behavior and may be indicative of how a candidate will behave in the future.
By listening to the responses and asking the individual to elaborate when necessary, you are likely to acquire key information. Understanding a candidate’s motivations will allow you to consider whether the opportunity your company offers will be more of the same or a refreshing change for the candidate.